Shell Energy Broadband vs Vodafone: which is best?

Last updated: 2 March 2022   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Shell Energy Broadband and Vodafone offer superfast and ultrafast broadband packages to customers looking for a good deal.

Overall winner Vodafone
Packages Vodafone
Call plans Vodafone
Price Tie
Speed Tie
Router Vodafone
Customer service Vodafone

Shell Energy Broadband focus on no-frills broadband plans and still offer a copper broadband package for customers who want a very basic service.

Meanwhile, Vodafone have standard plans alongside Pro tiers, allowing customers to choose the right type of broadband package for them.

Overall, the winner in this battle is Vodafone, partly thanks to their competitive pricing but also due to their superior router and customer service record.

At a glance

Shell Energy Broadband Vodafone
Price From £17.99 From £18
Basic broadband 11Mb N/A
Superfast broadband 35Mb, 63Mb 38Mb, 67Mb
Ultrafast broadband 100Mb, 200Mb, 300Mb, 500Mb, 900Mb 100Mb, 200Mb, 500Mb, 910Mb
Home phone On some plans (not full fibre) Yes
Inclusive calls None None
Anytime UK calls £13.79 £8
Minimum term 18 months 24 months

Broadband deals

Winner: Vodafone have a wide range of plans with Pro tiers available for customers wanting more.

Shell Energy Broadband and Vodafone both offer two superfast packages each. These plans come with no upfront costs, although the average speeds and contract lengths are slightly different:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 1 35Mb average £24 Free 24 months
Fibre 2 60Mb average £25 Free 24 months
Superfast Fibre 38Mb average £21.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months
Superfast Fibre Plus 67Mb average £23.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months

There are a few things to pay attention to here:

  • Vodafone are slightly cheaper on price. They aggressively discount their standard superfast plans to try and be one of the cheapest broadband providers around, so they will usually win in a straight battle on price.
  • Contract lengths are different, with Vodafone adopting 24-month minimum terms and Shell choosing 18-month deals instead.

Neither provider charges upfront costs for their broadband plans, however, and the speeds on offer are broadly within the same range. There's more on this below.

Vodafone also offer Pro versions of their standard deals that cost up to £13 extra per month (depending on the special offers available at the time).

These Vodafone Pro plans include:

  • Super WiFi boosters for the home
  • Access to WiFi Xperts for support
  • 4G Broadband Back-up
  • Faster Fibre Promise (upgrade to full fibre if it becomes available)
  • 12 months free Norton 360 Premium antivirus software

The extras included in these Vodafone plans are not available on any Shell Energy Broadband plans, so upgrading to a Vodafone Pro plan is a real step up.

That said, some customers might prefer the no-frills approach of Shell Energy Broadband.

Shell still offers a basic copper package with speeds of 11Mb. This might be useful for the approximately 3% of households who don't yet have access to superfast broadband.

Since Vodafone don't offer a comparable package, Shell win by default on this one.

Here's that package for reference:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fast Broadband 11Mb average £17.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months

Ultrafast broadband

Both Shell and Vodafone offer ultrafast broadband, although their delivery methods are slightly different.

Shell launched their full fibre ultrafast broadband packages in November 2021, offering speeds of up to 900Mb.

These full fibre plans are delivered via the Openreach ultrafast network that's available to around 6.44 million households at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, Vodafone's ultrafast plans are available on the Openreach network along with the CityFibre network that passed one million premises in 2021 and has ambitions to reach eight million premises by the end of 2025.

Vodafone are the only provider offering services across the whole CityFibre network so far, meaning their total fibre to the premises (FTTP) footprint is almost eight million in total and set to continue growing.

These are the full fibre ultrafast plans offered by both providers:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 100 100Mb average £28 Free 24 months
Full Fibre 100 109Mb average £26.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Save over £280 for 12 months
Pro II Full Fibre 100 100Mb average £38 Free 24 months
offer Offer: New Ultra Hub with WiFi 6E + Super WiFi 6E Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up
Pro II Full Fibre 200 200Mb average £42 Free 24 months
offer Offer: New Ultra Hub with WiFi 6E + Super WiFi 6E Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up
Pro II Full Fibre 500 500Mb average £42 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Pro II Full Fibre 500 for the price of Pro II Full Fibre 200 + New Ultra Hub with WiFi 6E + Super WiFi 6E Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up
Pro II Full Fibre 900 910Mb average £48 Free 24 months
offer Offer: New Ultra Hub with WiFi 6E + Super WiFi 6E Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up
Full Fibre 200 207Mb average £29.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months
Full Fibre 300 311Mb average £40.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months
Full Fibre 500 525Mb average £43.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months
Full Fibre 900 944Mb average £45.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months

Again, there are different contract lengths to be aware of and price variations, although Shell ultrafast deals are usually cheaper than Vodafone's.

However, all Vodafone plans above 200Mb are Pro as standard, meaning customers get the extra features we've mentioned above included in the price.

There are a couple of other ultrafast packages available from Shell Energy Broadband.

Ultrafast Fibre and Ultrafast Fibre Plus use the Openreach network. This is available to around 2.9 million households and is essentially an upgrade to fibre to the cabinet (FTTP) broadband network that improves the speeds up to 290Mb.

These are those two packages:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Ultrafast Fibre 145Mb average £41.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months
Ultrafast Fibre Plus 290Mb average £46.99 Free 12 months
offer Offer: Money off for 12 months

Since Vodafone only offer full fibre broadband, there isn't much comparison available, but it gives customers in some areas not served by full fibre an ultrafast option.

Home phone

Winner: Vodafone have cheaper home phone deals.

Landlines come as standard with Shell Energy and Vodafone fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) deals, although no calls are included with these lines.

Customers can add call plans to these packages:

Provider Call package Features Monthly charge
Shell Energy Broadband Basic Pay as you go calls Free
Shell Energy Broadband Evening & Weekend Inclusive evening and weekend calls to UK landlines £6.37
Shell Energy Broadband Anytime Inclusive anytime calls to UK landlines £10.61
Shell Energy Broadband Anytime Plus Inclusive anytime calls to UK landlines and standard UK mobiles £13.79
Shell Energy Broadband International Call Package (Must be taken with another plan) 600 inclusive anytime minutes to landlines in 40 destinations and 75% discounts to mobiles in those countries plus 50% on other international landline and mobile calls £7.43
Vodafone Anytime Landline and Mobile Calls Unlimited calls to standard UK landlines and mobile £8
Vodafone Evening and weekend calls Unlimited evening and weekend calls to standard UK landlines £4
Vodafone International 300 300 minutes per month to 46 destinations £5

So, Vodafone call plans are cheaper than Shell's.

However, it's important to note that phone lines cannot be added to Shell Energy's ultrafast deals, so customers in need of a landline might want to consider Vodafone or other providers instead.


Winner: Vodafone are cheaper at a superfast level, although Shell rival them on ultrafast.

Both providers have their strengths when it comes to price.

Since Vodafone strive to be the cheapest superfast provider, they often manage to undercut Shell on those plans - but Shell's special offers can sometimes challenge that.

If the superfast broadband choice is on price alone, either of these providers are a good bet.

When it comes to ultrafast broadband, Shell is the cheaper option, mainly because they don't bundle the same type of extras into their ultrafast broadband deals as Vodafone do.

So, for budget conscious customers, Shell will be the cheaper option, although if the extras will be useful, it's worth considering Vodafone Pro deals.


Winner: Tie - both providers offer the same gigabit-capable speeds.

Shell offers superfast broadband plans with speeds of 35Mb and 63Mb while Vodafone's comparable speeds are 38Mb and 67Mb.

In practice, the speed differences between these two providers are unlikely to be huge. Broadband companies must advertise speeds that at least 50% of their customers can receive at peak times, so there will be variations across a provider's base anyway.

Moving on to full fibre ultrafast broadband, Shell and Vodafone offer packages with speeds around 100Mb, 200Mb, 500Mb and 900Mb, with Shell also offering a 300Mb package.

The choice of a 300Mb package probably won't be the deciding factor for a customer choosing between the two providers, but it's something to be aware of.

Shell do offer packages that Vodafone don't such as the basic copper broadband and the plans available in some areas, so those might be useful to some customers - although they are not the cheapest options out there.


Winner: Vodafone's router is better than Shell's.

Shell provide most broadband customers with their Technicolor DWA0120 router, although customers on the basic copper plan will receive a more basic hub.

The Shell router features:

  • WiFi Standard 5
  • WPA2 security
  • Dual band technology
  • Smart channel selection
  • 5 antennae
  • 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 x WAN port
  • 2 x USB ports

This is a serviceable router that will suit customers on Shell's superfast fibre plans. However, it may struggle at faster speeds.

Meanwhile Vodafone offer their latest Wi-Fi Hub as standard to all customers. It offers:

  • WiFi Standard 5
  • WPA2 security
  • Dual band technology
  • 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 2 x USB ports
  • 7 antennae with beamforming

The Wi-Fi Hub works in conjunction with the Vodafone Broadband app for a complete home router management system.

Overall, the router experience for customers is better with Vodafone, so they win on this one.

Customer service

Winner: Vodafone have lower complaints than Shell.

Shell only entered Ofcom's broadband complaint figures in Q2 2021 following their acquisition of Post Office Broadband customers. As such, we only have a few quarters of data for them.

Initial signs are not brilliant, however. After entering the rankings as just above average with 13 complaints per 100,000 in Q2 2021 (in line with Vodafone), they became one of the most complained about providers in Q3 along with TalkTalk.

Ofcom say the main reasons for Shell customer complaints in Q3 2021 were faults, service and provisioning (39%), billing, pricing and charges (26%) and complaints handling (17%).

Meanwhile, Vodafone's complaint levels are now in line with the industry average following several years of high figures.

They have successfully brought complaints down from a high of 31 per 100,000 in Q4 2020 to 12 per 100,000 in the most recent figures.

We don't have much more official information about Shell and Vodafone's customer service performance because they haven't been included in much Ofcom research data so far.

What we can say is that 32% of Vodafone customers in 2020 said they had a reason to complaint (above the average of 26%) and their call waiting time was below average at 3 minutes 25 seconds. Yet it's worth remembering this data was collected when Vodafone's complaints were at their height, so it's probable customers would report more favourably of them now.

Overall, while there isn't as much information about customer service for these two providers as other ISPs, Vodafone are the winner based on the data we have.

Find out more about broadband customer service and which providers have the best customer complaint records.

Verdict: Shell or Vodafone for broadband?

Overall winner: Vodafone offer a better range of broadband plans and provide better value overall.

Vodafone have an excellent range of broadband deals, with no-frills deals available alongside their Pro tier of premium plans. This gives customers more choice than they get with Shell Energy Broadband.

There are other things to like about Vodafone too:

  • Their superfast deals are cheaper than Shell's
  • Their full fibre deals are available on two networks
  • They offer cheaper home phone plans - and they're available on their ultrafast deals too
  • They offer a superior router
  • They have a better record on complaints

All that said, Shell Energy Broadband have many plus points, and customers searching for cheap, no-frills broadband will find them to be a decent option too.

This time, however, Vodafone is the winner.


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